Summary: The enemy of God is the enemy of the mind. How do we fight this battle for our thoughts?
C.S. Lewis quote: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
When we begin looking at spiritual warfare, we can fall under strong temptation to major upon it. Majoring on the spiritual battle and ignoring it are equally dangerous. Our obsession with spiritual warfare can come from pride, fear and unbelief, just as any sin can.
It can be pride, because we seek the muscle to defeat demons with our spiritual power. This is what Jesus warned the disciples when He said, Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Our obsession can come from fear, lack of knowledge will create evil around us we cannot defeat. Nothing good comes from earthly and carnal fear. Only the fear of God is profitable.
Our obsession can come from unbelief, a lack of trust in our Captain and Victor, Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
There is not an exhaustive passage on spiritual warfare in the New Testament. What we know, we have to piece together. I hope we can learn why today.
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!-- 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
I. Nature of the Battle:
Paul and other NT writers speak often about us being soldiers in a war. There is a spiritual battle raging around us. Ephesians 6:12 - For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
That is a scary description of the Christian existence and the importance of our focus, I agree. That is the battle we are entered into and Satan is declared as our enemy. 1 Pet 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Christ is declared as our Captain and Victor. Deuteronomy 28:7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
Israel’s constant wars in the Old Testament point to the spiritual battle of our modern day Christianity. Demons have many schemes of warfare, an effective one being to cause us to sleep. Paul reminded the Corinthians that it was important to be aware of Satan’s schemes. “…we are not ignorant of his designs.” 2 Cor. 2:11.
Knowing the schemes of the Devil does not protect us from those schemes. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Eph. 6:11
Let’s make something clear. Demons cannot possess a believer, for we are possessed by Jesus Christ Himself. But demons can oppress us. I have covered this before, but if you need more info on it, let me know. In other words, Demons can operate in and around the mind of a believer.
II. The Right Focus.
There is an advantage in not being able to see the battle. Some have said that if we could see the spiritual warfare around us, it would scare us to death. I don’t think so. I think we would see what the servant of Elisha, Gihazi, saw.
2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 He said, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.